Diahann Carroll was an American actress, voice actress, singer, model, and activist. She rose to prominence in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess. In 1962, Carroll won a Tony Award for Best Actress, a first for a black woman, for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings. She was also a high school classmate of Billy Dee Williams.
Her 1968 debut in Julia, the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role was a milestone both in her career and the medium. Carroll was the recipient of numerous stage and screen nominations and awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In a Television Series in 1968. She received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for the film Claudine. She was also a breast cancer survivor and activist.